Space Education: Preparing Students for Humanity’s Multi-Planet Future
Apply by March 31st
April 10 - May 15, 2023
It is clear the reality of a multi-planet future for humanity is fast approaching, with plans to land on the Moon in just a few years and Mars within the decade. How might we best prepare students to participate in the growing space economy and in all the opportunities human migration to space will afford them in their lifetime? Through a dozen units of study, this course provides an overview of why these questions are important, and how educators might help students develop the skill sets and mindsets they will need - whether they travel to space, work in the space industry, or remain on Earth to solve increasingly complex problems in other fields. Participants will learn how to prepare students for a future of global cooperation, environmental management on a planetary scale, and application of space science for the benefit of all humanity.
The course also looks ahead to consider how we might educate students who are actually living in space in the coming years. The consequences of communication delays, low gravity, and exposure to vacuum are significant, not to mention the likelihood of severely limited resources. Finally, the course concludes with an exploration of issues related to moral decision making, leadership, and governance in future schools. It is truly an experiential course in Space Philosophy as much as education.
Tuesdays, 6 Weeks, 2Hrs/Wk
Mark Wagner, PhD
Founder, Ares Learning
The Certificate course provides up to 1 hours per week of live synchronous instruction over 6 weeks.
Why Space Education - This module covers the benefits of space exploration, from spinoff technologies to the Overview Effect. It also includes responses to common critiques, and discussion of critical reasons for space migration.
Inspiration for Space Education - The second module looks at depictions of education and learning in science fiction and literature. With dystopian views as cautionary tales and more aspirational models as a guide, participants explore what they value and want to create for the students of today and tomorrow.
Multidisciplinary Methods - Module three begins a deep dive into effective teaching and learning. A case is made for cross-disciplinary project-based education that is inquiry-driven and focused on student agency.
The Explorer’s Mindset - Digging deeper into pedagogy, this module introduces a framework for exploratory learning that focuses on curiosity, responsibility, and empowerment. This method encourages resiliency in the face of the unknown, and can lead to student discovery, breakthrough thinking, and innovation.
Moonshot Thinking - Like Kennedy’s declaration that Americans would land on the Moon despite not knowing yet how to do it, this module focuses on addressing seemingly intractable problems, embracing the unknown, and seeking ambitious solutions. The method can be applied in space, in schools, and elsewhere on Earth.
Design Methodology - To progress from Moonshot to Moon landing takes a process… of discovery, defining a problem, ideating possible solutions, prototyping and iterating - or pivoting if necessary. In this module, participants learn to apply the Design Thinking method to their own work, and to help their students do the same.
Synthesis, Collaboration, and Reflection - The focus on teaching and learning concludes with this module, which includes a variety of ways to encourage higher order thinking in students. Special attention is paid to cooperative learning, ethical dilemmas, and the practice of Hansei, or relentless self-reflection.
Education on Mars - The next three modules turn to the future, exploring ways we might best educate students once they are actually in space. Module eight is focused on the consequences of educating students on Mars, where the communication delay alone changes everything. This material is engaging to science enthusiasts and philosophers alike.
Education on The Moon - In addition to challenges similar to those faced on Mars, the Moon offers many advantages as an educational setting. In this module, participants explore very concrete plans for a small school located at the south pole of the Moon.
Education in Orbital Habitats and in Deep Space - Looking even further ahead, module ten explores the possibilities of education in large O’Neill style human-made habitats rotating in space. The idyllic vision would provide a spectacular campus for learning among the stars, with all the health benefits of full gravity - and all the freedoms of microgravity, even in the atmosphere.
Moral Decision Making and Leadership for Space Education - Human evolution in space will be limited if the problems of Earth are exported as well. Moral leadership will be critical to ensuring people rise to their best aspirations in the future. Key ethical issues are addressed in this module so that educators and their students can help lead the way.
Alternative Governance Models for Space Education - The final module looks one step beyond leadership to provide an overview of self-governing structures like Holacracy and Sociocracy as an alternative for space settlements. Consistent with the ideals of student agency, these models can be implemented in schools today as well.
This course is a focused effort of citizen science. Each participant will design and implement an action research project relevant to their work or passions. The project culminates in an academic paper that can be submitted for publication, and will be made freely available to the public online.
PreProgram 2023 Timeline
March 31: Registration Deadline
April 10: Course Starts
May 15: Course Ends